- Clerk Name: Robert Leonard
- Clerk Telephone: 01202 292102
- Clerk Email: [email protected]
Sarah has over 25 years’ experience at the Bar and practises in all aspects of family law, with particular experience in financial applications arising from marriage and relationship breakdown, public law proceedings, private law applications, and international child law. Sarah is a popular advocate, with a reputation for being thorough, and leaving no stone unturned in advancing her client’s case. She mixes gravitas with good humour.
Sarah represents parties in financial cases involving assets of high value, often involving an international element, as well as the everyday financial disputes arising from marriage and civil partnership, where the assets are more modest. Sarah has a particular interest in cases where assets are held abroad or by a company, where there are issues of serious non-disclosure of assets, and where there are complex family/company arrangements to be unravelled in the context of relationship breakdown.
Sarah regularly represents local authorities, parents, grandparents, prospective adopters and children in complex care proceedings. Sarah often represents local authorities and parents in complex cases involving expert evidence, serious non-accidental injury to babies, cases involving attempted murder, rape, incest, physical violence, FGM, fabricated and induced illness (FII), parents with serious learning disability, sexual abuse, vulnerable parents, and cases with multiple international elements.
Sarah regularly represents parties in cases involving complex issues of residence and contact. She has a particular interest in resolving cases where there are issues of psychological and emotional abuse, parental alienation, and children with learning disabilities and conditions such as autistic spectrum disorder.
International child law
Sarah has represented clients seeking to relocate with children abroad, and has obtained injunctions in relation to international abduction cases out of hours in emergencies in relation to a variety of countries, both Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention states. Sarah regularly represents both UK and international clients in relation to disputes spanning international borders. Sarah recently obtained an Annex II certificate under Article 39 of Council Regulation 2201/2303 (“Brussels II) in order to enforce a return order in the Czech Republic in relation to British children made in the High Court in England.
Seminars and Lectures
Sarah has been a regular speaker at legal training events on a variety of family law issues
Sarah has had many cases reported over her extensive career. Some of the more interesting cases are listed below:
Prest v Prest  EWHC 3430 (Fam) and 3722 (Fam)
The parties, who had four teenage children, separated in 2008 after 15 years of marriage. At the conclusion of the financial remedy proceedings, Moylan J found that the husband was, conservatively, worth £37.5m. The final order, made in November 2011, provided for periodical payments to the wife in relation to the children pending discharge of a lump sum to the Wife in the sum of £17.5 million. The Wife sought to have the husband committed to prison for non-payment.
Sarah represented Mr Prest, an oil trader, at various hearings in the High Court during the period 2013 to 2104. The case raised significant interest in the national press: in the Daily Mail and in a second Daily Mail article as well as in the Solicitors Journals.
Hussein v Ahmad  EWHC 721 (Fam)
Claim for financial remedy by Wife in case were assets were several millions, held in UK and Iraq. Sarah represented the Husband, Mr Ahmad, a property developer, in the High Court.
M and B  EWHC 2686 (Fam)
An application by the mother of a boy, aged about nine, for permission to remove him from England to live long term in Abu Dhabi within the United Arab Emirates. The case was referred to by the judge as “an extraordinarily tragic” case. Sarah represented the successful mother in the High Court.
H (Children)  EWCA Civ 733
Mother’s application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against what she contended was a “pre-emptory” change of interim residence orders in respect of her three sons.
Re GR (Children) & Others  EWCA Civ 871
Appeal to the Court of Appeal by the Local Authority from the Recorder’s order refusing interim care orders in relation to the two youngest (of four) children where the Recorder had granted interim care orders in relation to the older children.
S (a Child)  EWCA Civ 356
Successful appeal in relation to expert psychiatric evidence.
Re JH  EWHC 429 (Fam)
Appeal by parents of a care order made in relation to a young child on the grounds of the right to a fair trial, the right to family life, and the emergence of new evidence.
B (a child)  EWCA Civ 752
Case involving findings of non-accidental injury to small baby, and expert evidence.